Age and Race Data on Death Certificates for Older Asian Americans
Diane S. Lauderdale, University of Chicago
Bert Kestenbaum, U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)
In this project we assess the quality of age and race reported on death certificates for older Asian Americans. We previously determined death probabilities for the elderly of six subgroups (Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese) using Social Security (SSA) files and identification algorithms based on race, place of birth and names. We link the SSA death records from that study (n=136,350) to death certificates, using the National Death Index and the California Death Statistical Masterfile. Comparing year of birth on death certificates to SSA records, we find agreement is generally good, but varies by ethnicity, nativity and age. To assess ethnic identification on death certificates, we focus on persons for whom our ethnic assignment in the SSA file is most confident (foreign born with distinctive names). Ethnic identification on death certificates varies by ethnicity and markedly by state, with more complete identification in states with larger Asian populations.